China bans actress Zhao Wei and husband from stock trading

Zhao Wei, one of China's best-known actresses, has received a five-year ban from trading in the mainland stock market for irregularities connected with a takeover bid.
Zhao Wei, one of China's best-known actresses, has received a five-year ban from trading in the mainland stock market for irregularities connected with a takeover bid. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

BEIJING (Bloomberg) - Zhao Wei, one of China's best-known actresses, has received a five-year ban from trading in the mainland stock market for irregularities connected with a takeover bid.

Zhao, who has served as jury member on the Venice Film Festival and owns a wine chateau in Bordeaux, has built up a fortune through several investments including an early stake in Alibaba Pictures Group. 

Her husband Huang Youlong had also partnered with e-commerce billionaire and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma on a private equity deal in 2015.

A statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange shows that the China Securities Regulatory Commission also imposed fines worth 1.2 million yuan (US$150,000) on Zhao, Huang and the company they control, Tibet Longwei Culture Media Co.

That business launched an unsuccessful bid for Zhejiang Wanjia Co. in late 2016.

The couple initially attempted to buy a 29.1 per cent stake in Zhejiang Wanjia and then scaled it back to 5 per cent after regulators questioned the financing behind the bid. That attempt also failed. Zhejiang was subsequently bought by another investor and renamed Zhejiang Sunriver Culture Co.

The 41-year-old actress, also known as Vicki or Vicky Zhao, shot to fame in the region in 1990s for her role as Little Swallow in the TV series "My Fair Princess".

She also received critical accolades for her leading roles in feature films such as "Dearest" and her directing debut "So Young."